World-renowned Mark Bolender of Bolender Horse Park and the Bolender Method™ has built an International Mountain Trail Challenge Association (IMTCA) certified mountain trail course at Monty Roberts’ Flag Is Up Farms, the first IMTCA-approved course in the state of California.
“It was an honor to meet the Roberts’ family and to design and build an IMTCA mountain trail course for them,” shares Lee Bolender, Mark’s wife and co-founder of IMTCA. “The course is beautiful and we cannot wait to go back for clinics and IMTCA challenges.”
The two-acre course is located on the in-field of Flag Is Up Farm’s race track and includes over 22 mountain trail obstacles. The new mountain trail course includes bridges, teeter totters, a trench, water obstacles, a gate, logs, fan, balance beams, crossbucks, Texas two-step and more. The full course will be used for clinics and IMTCA challenges. Mark has added the dates of June 20 and 21 for a clinic on Monty’s farm during his 2022 schedule.
Bolender will also be teaching with his wife Lee and Sir Rugged Chex, known as Checkers, who was given the honor of becoming the first mountain trail horse to be turned into a Breyer Model Horse in 2020. Mark and Checkers will be demonstrating their championship form – bridleless – on Monty’s newly built Mountain Trail at The Movement June 17-19 as well.
For information, visit https://montyroberts.com/movement/
“We set out to create a better way to help horses become more engaged with us and to develop our Monty Roberts Mustang & Transition Horse Program for horses needing new homes through adoption. Mark Bolender’s methods and incredibly safe and beautiful obstacles stood out as the best option. Then when I learned he had won three world’s championships after age 40, I was inspired,” Debbie Roberts Loucks, Monty’s daughter shared how she came to the decision.
IMTCA mountain trail obstacles are engineered to be safe for equines of all sizes and durable, to last many seasons of use. Mark Bolender designed each obstacle himself, using his steel manufacturing background to ensure each obstacle was not only well-made, but are safe for horse and human.
“I’ve seen a lot of unsafe trail obstacles,” shares Mark Bolender. “We want to do it right from the start and make sure we had sturdy constructions that would withstand a 1,000-pound plus horse and its rider.”
Monty Roberts watched as over two acres of his farm became transformed in just five days. The sixth day, Mark and Lee Bolender taught a ‘Train the Trainers’ clinic for 10 trainers.
“Mark has convinced me more than ever that in-hand work prior to ridden work is critical to build trust in your equine partner. I watched today as every horse and every handler were challenged and then celebrated as they met the challenge of each obstacle,” Monty was pleased to share with the group.
Mark and Lee Bolender founded the IMTCA with the mission to unify mountain trail riders internationally by developing and maintaining suitable standards of performance and judging, fostering horsemanship and camaraderie, and providing a fun-filled and family-oriented atmosphere of competition at challenges, shows, and events. In an effort to broaden opportunity for both rider and equine, the IMTCA also provides formalized obstacle configurations, rules and judging criteria. The IMTCA promotes excellence by defining criteria for identifying highly skilled performance around the world in Mountain Trail.
The Bolenders have traveled all over the world creating courses in many countries, including Canada, Australia, Denmark and Italy. Courses created by them come with the full support of the IMTCA for creating, planning and hosting IMTCA approved events and clinics, including access to CAD drawings of their IMTCA courses for class patterning. IMTCA parks bring in money through play days, lessons, training, clinics, schooling challenges, regional qualifiers and a true World High Point program, allowing mountain trail competitors to compete against each other across the globe through their in-person challenge scores.
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Beautiful photos available upon request.
MONTY ROBERTS AVAILABLE FOR SELECT INTERVIEWS:
The New York Times bestselling author and world-renowned horse trainer Monty Roberts is available for interviews.
MONTY ROBERTS first gained widespread fame with the release of his New York Times Best Selling book, The Man Who Listens To Horses; a chronicle of his life and development of his non-violent horse training methods called Join-Up®. Monty grew up on a working horse farm as a firsthand witness to traditional, often violent methods of horse training and breaking the spirit with an abusive hand. Rejecting that, he went on to win nine world’s championships in the show ring. Today, Monty’s goal is to share his message that “Violence is never the answer.” Roberts has been encouraged by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II with the award of the Membership in The Royal Victorian Order, as well as becoming Patron of Join-Up International. Other honors received were the ASPCA “Founders” award and the MSPCA George T. Angell Humanitarian Award and FEI’s Man of the Year. Monty was recently included as Horse and Hound Magazine’s Top 50 Horsemen of All Time. Monty is credited with launching the first of its kind Equus Online University; an interactive online lesson site that is the definitive learning tool for violence-free training. Equine behavior expert & Join-Up Founder. Monty started listening to horses in 1942 and has won 11 World Championships across disciplines. He achieves all results with his non-violent training methods and has dedicated his life to teaching and evolving these methods. The Equine Industry Vision Award (EIVA) has now tapped Roberts as a finalist who exemplifies outstanding visionary achievement and sustained contributions that have made a profound impact on the equine industry. Monty is in the top four finalists for the 2022 Equine Industry Vision Award, “recognizing ingenuity and service as well as the benefit to the equine industry by inspiring these qualities in others”. “For over 80 years, he has advocated for and demonstrated the many qualities of our equine partners and athletes.”
JOIN-UP philosophies can be seen at work with both humans and horses across the world, from farms to major corporations. To learn more about Monty Roberts or the many applications of his Join-Up training methods, visit www.montyroberts.com. Horse Sense and Soldiers aired on Discovery Military in 2010 highlighting the therapeutic effect horses and Monty Roberts’ Join-Up® have on PTSD. Soon after Monty and his team developed the Horse Sense & Healing program for veterans and first responders. Lead-Up International was officially launched worldwide at the Monty Roberts International Learning Center in Solvang, California, in February 2017. The purpose of Lead-Up International is to reduce violence in the community by creating peaceful leaders from vulnerable youth utilizing equine-assisted therapy and non-verbal communication, building trust-based relationships.
MARK BOLENDER, founder of the International Mountain Trail Challenge Association (IMTCA) and creator of the Bolender Method™ will be teaching with his wife Lee and Sir Rugged Chex, known as Checkers, who was given the honor of becoming the first mountain trail horse to be turned into a Breyer Model Horse in 2020. Roberts has recently added a two-acre Bolender designed Mountain Trail to Flag Is Up Farms, creating the perfect opportunity for Mark Bolender to return and teach on it. He has added dates of June 20 and 21 for a clinic on Monty’s farm as well. The nation’s leading horse expert in Mountain Trail, Mark is a three-time National Champion in the exhilarating sport of Mountain Trail, that combines the thrill of natural obstacles found on wilderness trails with top-notch horsemanship skills.
Contact: Debbie Loucks
Monty and Pat Roberts, Inc.